BDA urges Mayor of London to tackle capital’s oral health inequalities

oral healthThe BDA is urging Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, to tackle oral health inequalities amongst children in the capital.

An inquiry heard evidence from practising dentists in London, which showed:

  • 97% of dentists believe Mayor Khan should introduce supervised tooth-brushing into nurseries and early years settings across Greater London
  • 98% believe the Mayor should run a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of dental attendance from an early age and that all dentistry is free for under-18s.

‘Across London, decades of improvements in children’s dental health are heading into reverse,’ Len D’Cruz, who gave evidence to the London Assembly, said.

‘The Mayor must now lead where Ministers have failed to do so.

‘When the NHS is under huge pressure we don’t accept it’s inevitable to spend £7million removing rotten teeth from children.’

Deteriorating oral health

More than a quarter (26%) of five-year-olds in London suffer from dental decay.

Making London the third worst area in England for child tooth decay, behind the north west and Yorkshire and Humber.

In some London boroughs there has also been a marked deterioration in children’s oral health over the last two years.

‘London faces unique challenges,’ Mr D’Cruz continued.

‘With a million kids missing out on free care, and some teenagers risking oral cancer through betel nut and paan consumption.

‘From public health campaigns to supervised brushing in nurseries – the Mayor can offer more than the radio silence we’re getting from Westminster.

‘Dentists back Mayor Khan’s bid to make London the world’s healthiest city.

‘But that can only be achieved by tackling the deep and persistent oral health inequalities that blight the capital.’

Low attendance

Dentists in London experience some of the lowest attendance rates in England.

Recent figures show 50% of children in London have not seen a dentist over the last 12 months.

Sadiq Khan recently set out plans in the London Health Inequalities Strategy to improve the capital’s oral health.

‘We’ve made our case to City Hall and welcome the aspirations set out in the Mayor of London’s Inequalities Strategy,’ BDA health and science chair, Russ Ladwa, said at the launch.

‘Tooth decay is a wholly preventable disease.

‘There is no reason why it remains the number one reason a child in this city will be admitted to hospital.’

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